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White House press secretary avoids commenting on PM Imran’s ‘slave of America’ statement

19 Mar, 2022
‘I don’t have any update on a planned call or engagement,’ White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said while responding to a query on Imran-Biden phone call. Reuters/File
‘I don’t have any update on a planned call or engagement,’ White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said while responding to a query on Imran-Biden phone call. Reuters/File

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has avoided commenting on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent statement, pertaining to the “slave of America,” saying that the US has a long relationship with Pakistan and they would continue it with diplomatic channels.

PM Imran has long maintained a stance of not becoming a “slave” of America while criticising their policy in Afghanistan. He has also maintained a similar position after becoming the premier and accused the past rulers of “bowing to the US” and allowing drone strikes in the country.

"US: We will be your friend, not your slave. We will help you withdraw from Afghanistan, but will not launch military operation for you," Imran, who is also the PTI chief, said in a tweet on January 10, 2012.

More recently, the premier in a huge gathering in a Saidu Sharif ground had said it was the responsibility of the nation to stand with the ruling PTI in Islamabad on March 27, against “the three thieves [Zardari, Nawaz, Shehbaz]” to tell the world that they are against the “hypocrites and the allies of the US”.

PM Imran had also lashed out at foreign envoys for their statement that urged Pakistan to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine in a public gathering in Vehari district’s Mailsi tehsil on March 6. However, the premier has reiterated that he had never been anti-America, anti-Britain or anti-India, adding that he was against the drone strikes that were conducted in Pakistan during the governments of Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari, resulting in the loss of lives and flight of capital.

The opposition has many times criticised PM Imran Khan for his apparent words against the Western countries and accused him of damaging the country's longstanding ties with those countries. But, the premier and the ministers have defended such a stance while accusing the opposition of not taking a stand against policies that were against Pakistan’s national interest.

Against the backdrop of such development, a reporter asked a couple of questions to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki during a media briefing on Friday.

“We have a long relationship with Pakistan, and that is a relationship we’ll continue through diplomatic channels. So I don’t have any more comments on that,” she said in reply to the question.

The reporter also asked about the reasons for the US government not communicating with the Pakistani leadership in the context of the Imran-Biden phone call. “,” she said, adding that the US administration engages with Pakistan and a range of leaders at a number of levels through the State Department, through the national security team.

“But in terms of a call or engagement with the President, I don’t have anything to predict on that front,” Psaki said.

PM Imran, who is facing a no-confidence motion in the National Assembly, has doubled his public engagements since the joint opposition has tabled against him in the lower house of parliament.